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Baby cries in fancy restaurant, Twitter war ensues

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Give Chef Grant Achatz credit, if for nothing else than for cramming more content into the 140 characters allowable within a tweet than any human before him. Achatz is chief cook and bottle washer at the tony Chicago restaurant Alinea.

Last Saturday, a couple came to dine at Achatz’s temple of gastronomy with their 8-month-old in tow. They hadn’t planned to bring junior, but their baby sitter canceled at the last minute. The infant, according to Chicago Now, cried non-stop (as infants will do), disrupting the experience of other diners who had paid the considerable freight for a meal.

Achatz after the fact tweeted the following message:

Tbl brings 8mo.Old. It cries. Diners mad. Tell ppl no kids? Subject diners 2crying? Ppl take infants 2 plays? Concerts? Hate saying no,but..

— Grant Achatz (@Gachatz) January 12, 2014

But here’s the kicker. Alinea doesn’t operate like your average high-end restaurant, where you eat and drink and then receive a check. As Today explains:

Instead of traditional reservations, the restaurant offers a ticketed system, where diners must pay between $210 and $265 up front for the tasting-menu-only dinner (the price does not include tax, tip or beverages). The restaurant does not accept walk-ins.

… Alinea does allow diners to sell or giveaway their diner tickets, which must be booked weeks, even months, in advance.

Rupert Vaughan, a cookbook writer, tweeted, "What are they supposed to do if their sitter cancelled at the last minute? $1000 worth of non-refundable tickets."




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